President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed not to hesitate to prosecute any member of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), involved in corrupt practices.
Speaking in an interview granted to The Interview Magazine and culled by the Punch, he denied claims that he was protecting those who sponsored his campaign and some members of the APC in his anti-corruption war. He also said that some unnamed persons pressurized him to contest the 2015 presidential election which he won.
He said he would come down hard on any of his backers with a proven case of corruption.
The President said, “Do you just grab people along the road and take them off to court for trial just because you want to create a semblance of balance?
“First, there has to be an accusation which must be properly investigated, and when a prima facie case has been built, you prosecute.
“If any of my backers or party (APC) members has anything established against them, let’s see whether I will shield anyone from prosecution.
“There seems to be a preponderance of the People Democratic Party members standing trial because they had been in power for 16 years, they had access to the public treasury and abused the trust reposed in them.
“You can be assured that anybody caught in corruption will answer for it irrespective of party, tribe or religion.”
He said those who talked him into running for president after he had announced he was no longer interested after being rejected by voters on three occasions believed in him to rescue the nation from falling apart.
He said, “You will recall that shortly before the 2011 presidential election, I had said it was the last time I would offer myself for elective position and I meant it, but the following years, we saw our country virtually falling apart on all fronts.
“People felt a rescue exercise was necessary and a large number believed I could do it.
“They made overtures to me and the pressure was so enormous that I could not say no. As they say, the rest is history. “
On the claim that his administration has been slow, he said there was no point rushing things as he could end up with avoidable mistakes.
“There is still a lot of wisdom in the saying, ‘slow and steady wins the race.’
“If they say we are slow, do they also say we are steady?
“Then, it means we will win the race eventually.
“There is no wisdom in being in a rush and messing up everything. You will make avoidable mistakes and end up with a lot of regrets,” he said.
The President also said he would wait for the advice of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), on whether to prosecute those who voluntarily returned looted funds or not.
“We will note the recommendation of the Attorney General of the Federation. We do not want to deliberately disgrace people. All we want is public money back,” he explained.